The first Swarovski Koala was introduced in 1987, followed by the Mini Koala in 1989; both were made in left and right-facing variations so today, there are four different variations of these two issues. All are retired, and the left-facing mini koala commands more money on the secondary market.
The Swarovski Koala facing left was manufactured in Europe. His ears are set lower on his head and his shoulders are rounded with a straight edge for the paws. The right facing one was manufactured in the US. His ears are set much higher on his head. He has a straight edge at the shoulders and his paws are rounded. The arm stone was simply put on in a reverse direction for each issue.
For the Mini Kaolas, the story is that they were mistakenly assembled in the opposite direction here in the U.S. than those manufactured and assembled in Europe. By the second year of production, they were all manufactured facing right, and the facing left variation was ‘discontinued’ in 1990. Because the error occurred here in the US, the left facing mini koala was only available to purchase in the US, and that’s why it commands a higher price on the secondary market. Be sure to compare the crystal figurine to the label on the box to ensure that the label shows a left facing one.
In 2009, a pair of Koalas, mother and baby with a Matte crystal base were issued. Koala mother is clear crystal, baby is Golden Teak crystal, and they are currently available.
The Trimlite product line also produced highly sought after Koalas in 1983, known as the Koala on Ball Paperweights, one in Gold and one in Pewter. Koalas, Mother and Baby, stand 3 1/2 inches high on a 60mm round paperweight. They are marked with the Trimlite “T”, introduced at an issue price of $95. Today, on the secondary market, you can pay as much as $900 each or more for them. They both retired in 1986.
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